Sunday 31 December 2023

Gaming Shenanigans of 2023

So the end of the year means, here I am trying to consolidate shit into some kind of organisation, for whom exactly?  Anyone really.

2021 is here

2022 is here

 Woo, what an odd year for gaming it was for me.  I've spent a lot of time playing stuff on my PS3, which has been a lot of fun.

(Toys of the year are here)

I do have a very definite game of the year though.

So let's start with that then hey, just to get it out of the way.

Red Dead Redemption 2.

A late buy, I think I saw it on sale at the start of November so I picked it up.  I've had my eye on this baby for a long time, mainly because I like Cowboys and I loved the first RDR on Ps3.  'twas good.

RDR2 Does a lot right, and a few things somewhat quirkerly, but it's pretty enjoyable.  The graphics are amazing and the world is pretty well realised.  It's a good sign when I decide that I don't really want to use the fast travel to get around, I'd rather ride my horse and attempt to deal with whatever I come across on the way.

And coming across things is pretty varied.  They've done pretty well to make the land feel alive with things to do. 

Sadly though they do pretty badly teaching you how to do things and I've often died because I can't remember how to melee, or get out my knife in a fight, so I'm trying to punch this guy who wants to stab me.  It doesn't usually end well.

But I have had a lot of fun doing little side quests, like finding nice looking horses to make my own. Hunting innocent animals for their skins and fishing.   Oh and trying to grow a manly beard.

The detail is pretty nuts.  Like, check this image out:

That hat I nabbed from a bounty hunter what I shot in the head, his hat has a bullet hole in it.  That'll stay there until I lose that hat.

I think that is a good sign.  It's good fun, and can be nice an relaxing as you wander around the countryside and I can see myself spending far too much time on this game :D.

The rest

PS4 Sonic Frontiers (DLC):

This fellow got updated with some DLC that allows you to play as Knuckles, Amy and Tails.  "Woot," thought I as eagerly awaited this to install for me.  Sadly though, while it does allow that, the setup and controls for these characters aren't so great.  On top of that, while it ups the difficulty to an insane degree, it doesn't really add anything new.  All the baddies you fight are just super fast, super strong, super life filled versions of whatever you've dealt with before.

Some of the new platforming things are pretty clever and well designed, but are let down by controls that don't work the same way; seriously, it's like trying to roll dice when you want Knuckles to stick onto a wall sometimes.   The other things is there are no halfway spawn points in the new platforming challenges, so you've spent a few sweaty palmed minutes climbing up and insanely tall tower and missing a jump and plunge into the ocean.  Well congrats, time to start from the very bottom.

It's not terribly fun as it doesn't present anything new, is unforgiving, and despite the normal game having a nice engaging (enough) story with character conversations that make you go "Aw, that's nice," this DLC has gone back to Tails being scared and unconfident without Sonic, and Knuckles reverting to dumb-punch guy again.

I have very little inclination to play this DLC any more.  Sorry.

PS4 God Of War.

 Picked this baby up for 900yennies, a decent bargain I thought to myself.  I do remember hearing good things about this game, and its sequel was quite happy advertising its 10/10 perfect scores.


So I gave it a try.  It didn't really grab me by the balls ya know.  It was there, it looks nice and stuff.  So I thought I would do a search to see what score it got at the time.  Metacritic says it gets a 94.  

Ok.  Sure I am just at the start of the game, but so far, all I feel is this us Uncharted but with Kratos.  GOW games are supposed to be about the combat, yet the camera is right up Kratos' arse, making it very hard to know what's around you.  He starts with the Leviathan Axe, which sounds cool and very painful, but enemies seem to take so many whacks with it, it might as well be the Floppycock axe.

Hopefully I am missing something that will click very soon.  Maybe I need to integrate Kratos' kid (from the way the dialogue goes, his name is "Boy," not a very inventive name)  into the fights a bit more, but I hope not, because, well, Kratos is (was?) the God of War FFS.

Being only an hour or so into the game, I'm not gonna slap the hammer of shame on it just yet, but my current feeling is that all these big review scores come from:

  • Story.
  • Graphics
  • Actors presence and character presentation
I.e. NOT from good gameplay.  
I hope I am wrong.

PS4 Phantasy Star Online, New Genesis

I rather enjoyed Phantasy Star on the SMS, the MD and the DC and was kinda hoping to spend a decent bit of quality time on this baby too.

Initially I was pretty impressed with the character creation at the start of the game and made my anorexic cowboy elf creature thing with a nice mix of striking pink and black, and was prety happy.  As I played the game, yeah, it was fine.  As an online game, the plot wasn't terribly strong and the enemies are fairly generic looking, but it wasn't terrible by any means.

The problem was I was playing it on console and there are a lot of menus, which made navigation a bit of  a drag.  But it is online, so I thought I could do it on PC as well, but the only place to go get it was from the Microsoft store, or something.  Either my account information is a bit borked, but buggered if I could get that shit to install.  

So i played it on the PS4 and yeah, it was OK.  You can team up with Randos online if you like, but I rarely had any problems kicking around by myself.  If something exciting was happening chances are there were other Randos around you could work with when required and that was cool.

But as a free game, transactions are king and I soon found that while I could customise my starting gear when I made my character, any gear I picked up would be the generic colours.  I like my pink/black combo thank you very much and don't wish to have to spend money on gear that I won through that challenge system, just so it's the correct colour.

Anyway, I just stopped playing, as Fallout New Vegas came along, and then I had to make space on the PS4 for RDR2.  And so, PSO hasn't come back.

TLDR Grinding in Freemium games sucks ass.

PS3 Sonic Unleashed.

I've not gotten back to this since my post on it, so I guess my feelings are much the same.  I think you're supposed to replay each level until they are imprinted on your DNA, but I don't really like that so much and the trying to find out where to go in the walking map levels isn't fun either.

PS3 Space Marine

This one was actually pretty fun and since I finished it, I don't feel the need to retype what I typed here.

PS3 Sonic Adventures.

Again, I'm not going to repeat what I said in my posts.  I've still had no inclination to go back to either of them after I finished those posts.  Not even SA2, which I didn't finish that time.

PS3 Sonic and SEGA All-stars Racing Transformed.

So I did get around to replaying this and I still think it's great.  The changing dynamic courses really make it hard to find Mario Kart fun at times.  The music is awesome, the game is hell fast and the atmosphere and fan service is just wonderful.

Shame that the opponents difficulty is just all over the place.  If all the cars have stats, then they should follow those stats right?  But when you play the game on the highest difficulty the computer players get unseen advantages.  Why can a character with the lowest speed stat overtake a character with the highest speed stat on a straight, with not obstacles?  I guess, this is the balance that needs to be tweaked carefully.  Like rubber banding, sure it's fun to be in the lead, but if you manages to consistently kick everyone's ass and are up the front all by yourself, it's not terribly stimulating.  But then should characters behind you get a free helping hand to catch up?

Generally though, I still love this game.  But playing on the top difficulty seems really unfair.  The gap between medium and hard is very wide!

PS3 Fallout New Vegas.

Not my image

Oh shit, man what a game this is.  If I had not got RDR2, then this would have been my Game of the Year.  So much choice in what to do and more importantly HOW to do it.  A quirky post-apocalyptic world in which to run around in with a big, but not too big map.  

Sadly though the PS3 version in very unstable with random freezes and crap happening all the goddam time.  If it were stable, it would just be sooooo good.

Even unstable as it is, the only reason I stopped playing it is because of RDR2.  And if we have a look through my kinda half assed game diary, after I faded from Sonic Unleashed, I went into New Vegas and that explains my stop in the diary writing...  Any spare time I had was spent wandering the wasteland.

I would love an upgraded version.

PS3 Transformers Rise of the Dark Spark.

I covered it here, I've not returned, nor have I had any inclination to do so since.

Switch time:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection

A release of a bunch of old TMNT games on a wide variety of machines.  I bought this mainly so I could play the Arcade Turtles game again, as I loved it as a wee kiddy in Timezone.  It also has a few NES/SNES/MD and GB versions as well.

Well, it turns out that the Arcade Turtles was living on a lot of nostalgic love.  Now I just see it as a mildly amusing, incredibly cheap-cheaty, coin gobbling bastard.  Some of the other games are interesting, I had no idea about most of the GB games.  And well, they're not terribly great either. 

So, long story short, I should've just emulated them when I felt the need for Cowabunga-ing.

Portal & (Portal 2)

I nabbed this on the switch and it was just as good as it was when I played it on the Orange Box collection for ps3.  Oh, but I haven't played Portal 2 on it yet, so expect that to show up in next year's coverage.  This new version has a few extra stages, which is nice.  I do rather like the old puzzle challenges.

Still good fun.

The only Saturn game I picked up this year, was :

Fighter's history Dynamite

AKA Karnov's Revenge.  

Why? Because it is a very decent Street Fighter 2 Ripoff with very nice graphics and animation and  actually fairly solid game mechanics. And the price was good.

Even I was a bit surprised when I checked my Saturn Games list.  But then again, most of what I really want for my collection now is hitting the somewhat expensive mark, and oddly enough, they're certainly not getting cheaper.  Odd, because some of them are getting snazzed up releases on Switch and stuff.  Very strange.

The end. Thanks for reading.

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